Monday, May 29, 2017

" if thy right eye offend thee" - Afterlives in Judaism and Sumerian Religion


Afterlives in Judaism and Sumerian Religion

Everybody living, no matter how rich, will die someday.  But not all believe that there is an afterlife.  In this context, it is interesting that Judaism seems to lack the clear concept of the afterlife.

Olam ha­Ba (afterlife) is rarely discussed in Jewish life, be it among Reform, Conservative, or Orthodox Jews. This is in marked contrast to the religious traditions of the people among whom the Jews have lived. Afterlife has always played a critical role in Islamic teachings, for example. To this day, Muslim terrorists who are dispatched on suicide missions are reminded that anyone who dies in a jihad (holy war) immediately ascends to the highest place in heaven. In Christianity, afterlife plays a critical role; the vigorous missionizing efforts of many Protestant sects are rooted in the belief that converting nonbelievers will save them from hell. 
Jewish teachings on the subject of afterlife are sparse: The Torah, the most important Jewish text, has no clear reference to afterlife at all.

Judaism sets Abraham as the founder of Judaists.  And Abraham's root was in Ur of Mesopotamia of 4,000 years ago.  Accordingly, Abraham should be regarded as having belonged to the Sumerian Culture that was observed around Ur of Mesopotamia 4,000 years ago.  And the Sumerian religion must have had an influence on Abraham and Judaism:

Ancient Mesopotamian Beliefs in the Afterlife 
Unlike the rich corpus of ancient Egyptian funerary texts, no such “guidebooks” from Mesopotamia detail the afterlife and the soul’s fate after death. Instead, ancient Mesopotamian views of the afterlife must be pieced together from a variety of sources across different genres... 
Ancient Mesopotamians conceptualized the netherworld as the cosmic opposite of the heavens and as a shadowy version of life on earth. Metaphysically, it was thought to lie a great distance from the realm of the living. Physically, however, it lay underground and is poetically described as located only a short distance from the earth’s surface...
The Mesopotamian netherworld is therefore best understood as neither a place of great misery nor great joy, but as a dulled version of life on earth...
The Mesopotamian netherworld was neither a place of punishment nor reward. Rather, it was the only otherworldly destination for dead spirits whose bodies and graves or cult statues had received proper ritual care... 
 Just as the well-being of the ghost in the netherworld was contingent upon offerings from the living, so too was the well being of the living contingent upon on the proper propitiation and favor of the dead. To a notable degree, these afterlife beliefs reflected and reinforced the social structure of kinship ties in Mesopotamian communities.

Sumerians were rather cool to concept of the afterlife.  They did not assume Heaven and the hell in a manner that Christians and Muslims assume them.  But their manner to imagine a somber afterlife and respect this life is rather close to that of Judaists.

So, I think it is quite natural that Judaists or Hebrews do not assume an afterlife in a manner of Christians or Muslims because the origin of them is Abraham who was born in Ur of Mesopotamia 4,000 years ago when Sumerians were practicing their culture and religion.

In other word, my theory that Abrahamic religions have their roots in the Sumerian culture is supported by the fact that Judaism does not put a great emphasis on afterlives like the Sumerian religion.

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Mat 5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.